Which Data Structure Is Most Appropriate for Round Robin Scheduling?


Larry Thompson

The round-robin scheduling algorithm is a widely used method in operating systems to manage the execution of processes. It is particularly suitable for scenarios where fairness and time-sharing are important factors. When it comes to implementing round-robin scheduling, choosing the right data structure is crucial for efficient and effective task management.

Introduction to Round Robin Scheduling

In round-robin scheduling, each process is assigned a fixed time quantum or time slice, typically ranging from a few milliseconds to a few seconds. The processes are then executed in a cyclic fashion, with each process getting an equal amount of CPU time before moving on to the next one. This ensures that no process monopolizes the CPU and that all processes get a fair chance to execute.

The Need for an Appropriate Data Structure

To implement round-robin scheduling effectively, we require a data structure that allows for quick insertion and retrieval of processes. Additionally, the data structure needs to provide efficient handling of context switching between processes.

Linked List

A linked list is often considered the most appropriate data structure for round-robin scheduling. Each node in the linked list represents a process and contains relevant information such as its ID, arrival time, burst time, etc.

Using a linked list allows for easy insertion and removal of processes at any position within the list. When a process completes its time quantum or when there is an interrupt, the current process can be moved to the end of the list while the next process takes its place.

This dynamic nature of linked lists makes them ideal for managing varying numbers of processes without requiring any significant changes to the underlying data structure.


A queue data structure can also be used effectively in round-robin scheduling. A queue follows a first-in-first-out (FIFO) approach, where new processes are added to the rear and removed from the front of the queue.

By maintaining a queue of processes, it becomes easy to handle the concept of time slices. When a process completes its time quantum, it is dequeued from the front and enqueued at the rear, allowing the next process in line to execute.

Similar to linked lists, queues provide efficient insertion and removal operations. However, they may require additional operations like context switching to manage interrupts or priority-based scheduling.


In conclusion, both linked lists and queues serve as appropriate data structures for round-robin scheduling. Linked lists excel at dynamic management of processes with easy insertion and removal capabilities. On the other hand, queues provide a simple FIFO approach for handling time slices.

Ultimately, the choice between linked lists and queues depends on specific requirements and constraints of the operating system or scheduler implementation.

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